Book Chapter

Capital Flight, Safe Havens and Secrecy Jurisdictions

“The terms “safe haven” and “secrecy jurisdiction” are arguably more appropriate than “tax haven” or even “offshore financial center” in discussing capital flight. Florida, for example, is
thought to be the main destination for capital flight from Latin America, though it is rarely—if ever—listed under either of the last two headings. Most capital flight is thought to reflect the
transfer—typically to jurisdictions characterized by strong financial secrecy regulations—of the receipts of plunder, money laundering, and tax evasion. These same jurisdictions are occasionally used by governments to dodge reparations, evade the impact of sanctions, and/or
covertly fund political interference in rival states. The paper considers how capital flight safe havens operate. It also reviews the arguments over financial secrecy laws and practices, and considers recent multilateral and unilateral attempts—by the OECD, the EU, the US and
others—to counter secrecy abuses.”